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Secrets Kept and Lies Told

Secrets Kept and Lies Told

A Story by Courtney Louise Martinez

In this short story, a teenage boy named Oliver struggles with an abusive father and also with wanting to come out to his mother.


Oliver covered his head with the pillow, applying as much pressure as he could. It was pointless. His mother crying in the living room was deafening. The sounds of his father yelling followed by skin to skin contact ricocheted throughout the house. He could feel himself tear up when he thought about how he was absolutely useless. He couldn’t help his mom. He couldn’t even help himself.



“You look like crap.” Robbie said as he leaned next to Oliver’s locker.

“I didn’t sleep well last night.” Robbie rolled his eyes.

“When do you ever sleep well? I think you should take Melatonin or something.” Oliver scoffed quietly. As if taking medicine to help him sleep would stop his father from getting drunk almost every night.

He looked up at Robbie and stared into his bright blue eyes, the product of fake contacts. Tomorrow he’d be wearing his green ones.

Oliver half smiled at him. “You’re right. I’ll tell my mom.” A smug smile spread across Robbie’s face. He placed his hand palm down flat under his chin, his manicured bright blue nails shining in the ceiling light.

“I’m always right. You’d think you would’ve learned that by now.” He winked at Oliver as he flipped his faded light purple hair. Oliver turned away and buried his face in his locker to hide his flushed cheeks. “So….” Robbie said as he stepped closer. “You didn’t happen to tell your mom, did you? I know I said I’d give you time but I’m getting a little impatient.” Oliver looked away from him, evading the question. Robbie sighed in response. “Come on, Oliver. Why are you so nervous about it? From what you told me, it seems like your mom’s a nice person. I’m sure she’d be understanding.” Oliver shrugged, avoiding Robbie’s gaze.  

The bell sounded, signaling for students to start heading to class. As kids began swarming the hallways, the noise of a thousand different voices overlapping bombarded them. Bits and pieces of conversations could be heard as students passed them in the halls. Robbie sighed dramatically. “This isn’t over, you know.” Oliver chuckled.

“Yeah. I know.”

“Fabulous, darling. Let’s go then.” Oliver nodded and, as they were walking to class, Oliver spotted Mason Schneider. He quickly ducked behind Robbie, hoping not to be seen from behind Robbie’s tall and thin frame. Luckily, it worked. This time.



He walked in the door to find his mother setting a vase of fresh flowers on the coffee table. She looked up at him and smiled. Oliver held his breath when he saw her left eye was swollen and black. She had tried to drape her short black hair over it but only managed to cover a small portion. She was asking a bit too much of a pixie cut.

“Hey, Oliver. How was school?” He shrugged, looking down at the floor and squeezing his backpack strap. “You’re not gonna tell me?”

“It’s just school, mom. It was fine.” Oliver’s phone buzzed in his pocket.

“Who texted you? Is it Robbie? You two sure do text each other a lot.” The message read, Have you told her? Oliver tapped his fingernail on the back of his phone a few times before glancing up at his mom. She had walked around the coffee table to sit on the couch. He opened his mouth to tell her then, remembering she wasn’t good with secrets, quickly shut it.

“He’s my friend, mom. Can’t I text my friends?”

“I never said you couldn’t text him. I was just saying-” The front door burst open and his dad came storming in, a beer hanging from his hand. Mom shot up off the couch. “Welcome home, Jesse. How was work?” He glared at her as he walked past to the kitchen. His ebony hair sat atop his head in a tangled mess. Small beads of sweat glistened off his forehead. The corner of his mouth pulled up into a scowl.

“S**t.” He muttered. Oliver and his mother accidentally met eyes. She looked away swiftly afterwards and just stared at the ground. A few moments of silence passed before the refrigerator door was slammed shut and he stormed back into the living room. “Where the hell is the beer?! I told you to buy more!” Oliver’s mother stuttered a few half words, trying to come up with an excuse. He glared at her. “You useless f*****g skank!” He roared as he walked quickly towards her. She tried to apologize but was knocked to the ground before she had a chance. He looked up at Oliver, who stood there completely paralyzed. The feeling of trepidation had overrun his systems and shut him down. “Go to your room. Now.” His father growled at him.

Oliver’s mom laid on the ground holding the side of her face, tears slowly dripping onto the floor. Oliver couldn’t move even if he had wanted to. His feet were nailed to the floor and his eyes were super glued to his crying mother. She glanced up at him with pleading eyes, begging him to do as asked.

Jesse sighed with irritation. He made his way to Oliver, grabbed his arm, and dragged him down the hallway. “Leave him alone!” His mother’s cries were a mix between a shout and a sob. Jesse ignored her and threw Oliver into a closet and locked it from the outside. Oliver pounded on the door, screamed to be let out. All in vain. He sank to the floor and listened to everything happen from inside the closet.

His phone buzzed again. Another text from Robbie. Did you do it? How’d it go? Even though the screen was blurry through a wall of tears, Oliver managed to type, It went great.



Class had started and Oliver was late. He had tripped and was now frantically trying to stuff everything back into his backpack. He reached for a notebook and cried out in pain as a shoe landed firmly on his hand. He looked up and there stood Mason, smiling down at him. His amber eyes, which were partly blocked by his shaggy platinum hair, looked down on Oliver, mocking him.

“Uh… I- I need th-that.” He tried to say.

“Huh? Oh, this thing?” Mason lifted his foot and bent over to pick up the notebook. He opened it and started to sift through the pages. He flipped to one page and stopped. “Aw. You wrote a little poem for your buddy Robbie. Mind if I read it?” Oliver shot up and made a desperate attempt to grab the notebook.

“P-please, Mason. G-give it b-back. That’s private.” Mason held it just out of his reach and began reading the poem. He clicked his tongue a few times.

“Oh what an adorable little poem. Pretty personal, too. I bet you worked hard on this. I wonder what would happen if I…” Mason ripped the page out of the notebook and crumpled it up.

“Stop! Give that back!” Oliver made another attempt to grab it and was instead shoved into the lockers, Mason’s arm pinned across his chest.

“Make me.” Mason’s eyes pierced Oliver’s, daring him to make a move. Tears involuntarily began to well up in Oliver’s eyes. Mason chuckled lightly. “You’re such a wimp.  That’s all you’ve ever been good for.”

“Hey!” They both turned to see Robbie walking towards them. Mason immediately released Oliver, who fell to the ground. “What’s going on here?” Mason smiled.

“I don’t know if you knew this, but you’re boyfriend’s a poet.” Mason winked at Oliver before dropping the notebook on the floor, stuffing the paper in his pocket, walking down the hallway, and turning a corner. But not before turning slightly and presenting a victorious smile to them. Robbie sat down next to Oliver and pulled him into a hug.

“Are you okay?” Oliver nodded despite feeling anything but that. He had tried his best to stop the tears from flowing. He was tired of crying.

Robbie pulled away slowly and stopped a few inches from Oliver's face. Robbie glanced down at Oliver’s lips. Oliver did the same. Placing his hand on his cheek, Robbie leaned in towards Oliver. He closed his eyes and felt Robbie’s lips press against his own. They lingered there for a minute before finally pulling apart. Robbie pressed his forehead against Oliver’s and said, “Just ignore Mason. I know it’s hard but try.” Oliver didn’t reply. Guilt over not telling Robbie about his home life sank in. Robbie was the only good thing in his life. He didn’t want his relationship with him to be tainted by bringing his dad into it. He just wanted this moment to last as long as possible.



“Where’s dad?” Oliver asked as he sat down at the dining table. The light from the small chandelier wasn’t as bright as it usually was. When he glanced up, he saw that a few bulbs were either broken or missing.

“He won’t be here for dinner.” She said simply. Oliver didn’t say anything and waited as his mom put food on his plate. He picked up his fork to start eating but then froze.

“Why do you stay with him?” She stiffened. “We should just leave. Or call the police. Or something.”

She whipped her head around and looked at him, stonefaced. “No. Don’t call the police.”

“But why? I don’t understand. He’s an awful person. You deserve better.” She shot out of her chair.

“The person you’re talking about is your father. I suggest you show him some respect.”

Oliver was quiet for a few seconds before saying, “I refuse to show respect to someone who gives you black eyes and bruises on a regular basis.” She stared at Oliver silently for a few seconds, her hand slowly traveling up her arm, stopping on her bicep. His mom looked down at her plate then calmly sank down to her seat.

“Please go to your room.” She whispered without looking up.


Her voice cracked as she uttered the command, "Go." She buried her face in her hands. Oliver slowly stood but didn’t walk away.

“I wanted to tell you something mom.” She waved her hand dismissively at him.

“I don’t care right now. Tell me later.” He didn’t respond as she got up and slowly left the room. Oliver didn’t move, just stared down at the table.

“Of course you don’t. Why would you?” He muttered to himself before turning and heading down the hallway to his room.



Oliver’s phone buzzed in his pocket as he leaned back on the park bench. The leaves that littered the ground around him were all bright orange and red. Although there was less than a handful of kids playing on the playground equipment, the sound of leaves crunching and twigs breaking never ceased. Oliver had always enjoyed the cold; he was only wearing a thin jacket.

His phone buzzed again. He glanced down at the screen, having to adjust the brightness to almost max to be able to see anything. It was a text from Robbie. Oliver sucked in a chilly and shuddering breath and blew it out slowly. His phone buzzed a third time. It was a frantic text from his mom telling him to come home. He deleted the message.

A gust of wind blew Oliver’s jet black hair into his face. He didn’t respond to it. He closed his eyes and let the wind do its worst. When he opened his eyes, most of the children had started to vacate the playground. A chill ran down his body as the air around him continued to get colder with the slow setting sun. Oliver opened his phone and read Robbie’s text message. Where are you?! A sad smile formed on his lips. A warm tear, quickly cooled by the air, slipped down his face.

Oliver traced the bruises around his eye and on his cheek. When he stood, he felt the giant bruise on his side sting. He began walking. His phone continued to go off. It even rang a few times. Oliver finally pulled the phone out and answered it.


“Hey.” Robbie sighed with relief.

“Where the hell are you?! Your mom is freaking out and your dad…” Robbie trailed off. “Why didn’t you tell me?” The words were whispered. Oliver didn’t answer for  a few minutes. He couldn’t answer a question if he himself didn’t know the answer.

“I don’t know. It was my problem.”

“We’ve been dating for four months! You didn’t think that your dad being abusive was something that was worth mentioning? I can’t believe you alienated me.”

“You’re right. I’m sorry.” There was silence on the other end.

“Where are you?” His voice was gentler than before.

“I lied, you know. When we were texting and you asked if I had told my mom. I didn’t tell her till yesterday. My mom must’ve told him. He came into my room in the middle of the night and…” Oliver traced the bruises on his eye again softly. “Is he there?”

“No. Your mom said he went out to a bar with some friends. But it doesn’t matter where he is. You're the one we’re looking for.”

“It doesn’t matter. I’m not coming back. I’m done with him. I’m just done.” His voice cracked as another tear slid down his face.

“Goddamn it, Oliver. Where the f**k are you?!” Desperation had settled in Robbie’s voice. Oliver shook his head as he crossed the street, ignoring the fact that Robbie couldn’t see it.

“I’m sorry. I gotta go.” He stopped walking and paused before adding, “I love you.” On the other end of the phone call Robbie started to say something. Oliver hung up before he had a chance to finish. Then he shut his phone off and tucked it into his pocket. The words Mason had said took root in his mind. He wanted to believe otherwise. He just couldn't. Crying really was all he was good for.

He pressed the crosswalk button, buried his hands in his jacket pockets and waited patiently. Tears were rolling down his face at a steady stream. The sun was still descending beyond the horizon, darkening the sky. Finally, the crosswalk light turned green. Oliver hesitated for a second before starting across the street.

A car came barreling down the street. The driver was drunk and didn’t see Oliver crossing. Oliver turned his head just in time to see the car smash into him, sending him flying through the air. He dropped into the middle of the road like a ragdoll. The cars around him swerved to avoid hitting him for the second time. The passengers in the car panicked and drove off as quickly as possible. Oliver gasped for air, tried to move his body. He groaned in pain at the impossible task. He stared up at the sky, watched the clouds move slowly overhead. His mother crossed his mind. Not the one that had been his dad's punching bag, but the one who was kind and sweet. The only one besides Robbie who would ever given a damn about him. As people started to crowd around him, he hoped that the next time he saw her, she would be happy.

© 2017 Courtney Louise Martinez

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Added on July 2, 2017
Last Updated on July 2, 2017


Courtney Louise Martinez
Courtney Louise Martinez

Ralston, NE

My name is Courtney Martinez. I am currently 17 years old and I have been writing seriously for actually only a few years. My interest began in 6th grade but I took a hiatus during my middle school ye.. more..